Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cheese Balls’ Epic Journey

I had the following exchange with a pair of TSA agents recently at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport:

TSA Agent #1: “Do you have any liquids, ma’am?”
Me: “No.”
TSA Agent #2: “Just a whole lot of cheese balls.”

How did we get here? Backing up...

We received a tremendous number of lovely gifts for our wedding. Some were expected and others were slightly more surprising. For example, we arrived home from our honeymoon and started digging through the mountain of accumulated gifts to find these:

Yes, that’s a large plastic jar of Utz Cheese Balls, a gift from my dear camp friends Kevin and Murph. (Side Note: Murph would feel slighted if I didn’t also mention that they did, in fact, send actual wedding gifts as well.) The gift is hysterical if you’re party to an inside joke from a snack shopping outing last summer at America’s Camp during which Murph and Kevin purchased a similar jar of Utz Cheese Balls and were assisted by a Price Chopper checker who made an unfortunate remark about balls and bags.

I guess you had to be there.

At any rate, we didn’t open them; the hubs doesn’t like flavored snack foods (something about the powder weirds him out), and I was afraid I’d eat all 35 servings in one sitting if I broke the seal. So we decided I should bring them to camp with me. I mentioned this to Murph on the phone the week before camp.

“You can bring them to camp,” she said. “But you can’t check them. You have to carry them on.” I would, however, be permitted to carry them in a bag for ease of transport.

The gauntlet thus thrown down, I had no choice but to accept the challenge and carry my Cheese Balls all the way from Anchorage to Peru, Massachusetts, via San Francisco and Boston. To prove I hadn’t chickened out and checked the jar, I documented the trip via iPhone photos texted to Murph and Kevin throughout the day...

Cheese Balls travels in a chic Steve Madden shopping bag for earth-friendly convenience.
Cheese Balls visits with some distant cousins before boarding a flight to San Francisco.
Cheese Balls wonders if the airplane is being stocked with an adequate supply of tasty snack foods...
Cheese Balls prefers a window seat.
The play area in the San Francisco airport is a great place for Cheese Balls to take a break from the stresses of air travel.
Sometimes exhaustion gets the better of even the most enthusiastic traveler.
Cheese Balls peruses some San Francisco souvenirs.
Cheese Balls prefers Alaska Airlines and its 20-minute baggage guarantee, but doesn't mind waiting for the luggage... as long as it doesn't take too long.
Cheese Balls' first taxi ride -- Logan to Copley Square. Step on it!
Cheese Balls buckles up for safety in a Camp Danbee van. Next stop: The Berkshires!
At last, Cheese Balls arrives at camp, ready to bring 35 servings of powdery goodness to AC10.
As for Cheese Balls’ ultimate fate... well, I don’t have photos of that, but the demise of my traveling companion looked something like this:

1 comment:

  1. See, that's exactly why Gene and I never give those expensive presents people say they want, but well-intentioned, thoughtless ones. Look how much joy this brought to your life and so many others. What could be better?